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  • I should very much like to see this gentleman’s birth certificate.

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  • Well written! Thank you for bringing attention to the parent’s continuing disrespect of their children and how their beliefs are the foundation for thier bad behavior. There is no need, except for their own, to be in the spotlight.

    As Josh’s ex-girlfiend, I am very familiar with the stories he recounts in his book. One summer we took a trip from Pella to Troy so I could better understand his roots. I believe it was more for him since I already understood what it meant to grow up in an abusive fundamentalist christian home. I’m glad I went because I had the chance to observe Josh process his childhood memories as an adult. It was good for him. I even had the pleasure of meeting his sister, Rachel and her son.

    Of course, abuse follows us into adulthood and can take decades to resolve, but I’m concerned about the connections being made among all of the distinct issues in the media surrounding this family. For example, what does it mean to have grown up in an abusive and a religiously mind-twisting home? Does that mean someone is going to become a sex abuser or a pathological liar? No, it doesn’t. However, it is important to ask how it has affected a person’s life.

    Josh went on a quest to find out for himself what the “truth” was. He did this through education and travel, etc. He had been isolated. He needed to find out for himself what the world was about and what was the right way to live for him. He questioned, even though, or because, he grew up being told there was no other truth. Do not discount the importance of these life choices. He broke out of a repressive belief system and culture and became a highly educated person and learned how to think critically, and has gone on to teach others to do so as well. He had the option to accept his parent’s way of life without question, as many people often do.

    I knew, as well, at a very young age that my parents were not the type of people I wanted to emulate. I suppose the abuse made that an easy choice. The central theme for my childhood as well as Josh’s is how our parents used religion to control us. It was used to justify abusive behavior. It was used for any purpose, at any time and twisted for any purpose the abuser might have had. Like Josh, I created my own beliefs and values system through questioning people and myself and exploring the world.

    So, although childhood abuse from religious christian fundamentalist parents has harmed me beyond what I can tell you, it has strengthened me in many ways, as I hope it has Josh as well. I’ve learned lessons that some people will never learn in their lifetime. I am different because of it and in ways that I’m proud of. We have done more than survive; we have become highly educated individuals with strong characters and convictions. Some people grow through adversity and others whither. Either way, I would have preferred to not have been abused.

    I hope Rachel and Josh’s stories draw more attention to child abuse and religious fundamentalism. Likewise, I hope attention is called to how our society turns the other cheek. This is where Americans can stop child abuse. When someone turns the other cheek, he/she condones it and enables the abuser.

    • Jodi, it is so good to see someone else write about child abuse and religious fundamentalism… About how turning the other cheek condones and enables abuse. H
      ere is my rant on the topic of Rachel Dolezal… I so badly want to believe my birth father is not my birth father, that those sick genes are not a part of me, I joke that my mother had a one night stand with George Carlin during his drinking days because I so wish he was my father. We have so much more in common that I do with that disgusting POS my mother was marrried to. I’d love to find out she had an affair with just about anyone and that he really isn’t my birth father. I can totally identify with this woman. I even changed my name to distance myself from my birth family who I have nothing to do with because I accept that they are toxic to me. I’m betting if she had changed her name, she would be attacked for yet another deception. All of you who have not survived the kind of abuse that makes it so easy to empathize with this woman should be grateful you are in a positions where you can self righteously judge this woman who has, despite her abuse, created a life that is good and meaningful. Just keep in mind that with each of your cruel words and judgements against her, you are aiding and abetting her abusive parents. I know there is a whole different argument to be had from the perspective of black cultural issues and for people who are arguing from black perspectives I can understand that those issues are complicated. But, most of the white people bashing this woman are just upset by her deception without knowing anything about black culture.

    • Why does his otherwise very open and disclosive memoir never refer to any physical abuse from his parents? (Just finished reading it yesterday. They were clearly religious zealots and repressive, but there’s not a word in it about physical abuse. The closest would be his dad becoming enraged when he spent much of a day looking for Josh to come work outdoors and found him reading. Nothing about physically abusing him when he found him.)

      • He’s quite a bit older than the adopted siblings correct? Perhaps the physical abuse started later on? Maybe due to reading books such as To Train Up A Child (according to the other article sources say the adopted children were abused in ways that look a lot like what is described in that book).

        Or perhaps the physical abuse started early and he just isn’t okay with writing about that. I know that earlier in my life, a book I would have written about my life would not have included my parent’s physical abuse.

  • Thank you for your comments. You certainly don’t need to post anything I write. I especially understand that, if you do not feel I am credible. Given the publicity, I would be skeptical myself of anyone claiming to be the ex-girlfriend. I do not have all the facts because I haven’t been scanning the news and I only know of my time with Josh. I don’t even pay much attention to the news and I was told about the news stories last night. So, I don’t know what she has admited to or not. You are the first person I have written to about this and I have to admit that it hurts that you have decided that I’m not credible. I put myself out there big time because you appeared to be credible and insightful. You don’t have to post my writing because I can post that elsewhere, but please do not call into question my credibility! I am so offended!

    • Jodi, the person who questioned your credibility speaks only for herself. She is not the person, R.L. Stollar, who posted the original piece. As someone who is close to a victim of homeschooling, I want to thank you for coming forward. Your information helps put Rachel Dolezal’s situation into needed context.

    • Hey Jodi, the other commentator was responding to me and the comment appeared under your comment. So sorry about the confusion! (I deleted her comment so as to avoid further confusion.) As the author of the post, I very much appreciate you sharing your thoughts and your thoughts are certainly welcome.

  • Jodi, just jumping in to say that I believe the previous comment from Marilyn was intended for the Homeschoolers Anonymous page itself regarding their reporting of Rachel’s story and not for you as a commenter. As a reader, I appreciated your insights on Josh as well as your candid and brave discussion of your own experiences. Also, there are a lot of grumpy commenters out there in the anonymous world of the internet, so don’t take it personally 🙂 They love to vent!